Bad Santa has been a Christmas tradition in my family since 2004. You see we don’t have any kids of my own and nor do I want any. We have three dogs and they are enough work, bills and responsibility. The best kind of kids in my opinion are other peoples’ kids, but I digress. My reason for telling you all of this is because of my next statement. I don’t want anyone thinking I’m some kind of horrible person or parent for that matter. Every year and every Christmas morning Bad Santa is on repeat in my household. It’s my own Christmas tradition and last year was no exception. The only odd thing about last year, well last Thanksgiving, was the fact that they came out with a sequel brilliantly called Bad Santa 2. Much to my surprise I did not get around to checking it out, mostly because of all the negative reviews. How’s that to sell you on reading the rest of this 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray review? Ha!
Bad Santa 2 is the same raunchy concept as the 2003 original film. It’s also still billed as a Christmas, black comedy, crime film. This time out the next incarnation here (or lovingly referred to as a sequel to the 2003 movie) is directed by Mark Waters off a script written by Shauna Cross and Johnny Rosenthal. Billy Bob Thornton, Tony Cox and Brett Kelly return along with newcomers to the franchise, Kathy Bates and Christina Hendricks. Man it feels weird referring to this as a “franchise.” Well anyway, criminals Willie and Marcus are back at it again teaming up to work as Santa and an elf, respectively. This time they’re out to rob a Chicago charity on Christmas Eve with help from Willie’s foul mouthed, tattooed mom.
Bad Santa 2 was released on Thanksgiving last year, but received nothing but negative reviews. It only made $23 million worldwide at the box office, not even eclipsing its $26 million dollar budget. Even if I would have went and supported this last year, I could have not have stopped this boat from sinking. That’s the honest to God truth of the matter. So what kind of fan does that make me of this film? I guess after having just watched this now an educated and richer one. Ha ha. So here’s what all happens in this needless sequel.
Bad Santa 2 still has the same ingredients as the first flick, crude sexual content and language throughout, but this time we even get some graphic nudity. There’s always that! So in a nutshell, drunk Willie Soke (Thornton) once again teams up with his little, angry sidekick, the elf Marcus (Cox), to knock off a Chicago charity run by a recovering alcoholic, Diane (Hendricks), and her husband. It all sounds like a simple plan, but the arrival of Willie’s horror story of a mother, Sunny (Bates), and “the kid” from the first film, Thurman Merman (Kelly), just may foil their plan. I could do without the character of Sunny, but you definitely can’t have a sequel without Thurman Merman (he even kind of still looks the same). Thankfully for us the runtime is only 92 minutes long (95 for the Unrated version). Ha ha.
I said up above that this sequel is needless and I meant it. I mean why stain the original film like this? Did they think this would be easy money? Sure there are some hilarious moments sprinkled throughout here, but for the most part the jokes are rehashed from the first one and there’s absolutely nothing new to be found here other than the scenery (Chicago this time) and love interest. Marcus the elf does seem like he shrunk a bit, but I digress. I typically have a 5-6 paragraph rule when writing the film sections in my reviews, but I literally can’t think of much more to say about this outing. With the exception of Sunny I still love these characters no matter how bad this sequel taints things, but in the long run there’s just not enough new and interesting to keep me invested here. My score of 2 is more a pity thing than actual enjoyment, but after two viewings I can honestly say there are some things I like about Bad Santa 2. However, they are very few and far between. It’s more of a reunion than anything else.
The below video score and related critique of things here are based solely upon my viewing of the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray presentation of Bad Santa 2. I did watch the 1080p Blu-ray presentation too and you’ll find some comparison notes below about it.
The truth of the matter though is this UHD presentation is perplexing. You can read all about the reason why the filmmakers decided against HDR in article found here. This wreaks havoc for me and here’s why. I have two 4K UHD Blu-ray setups in my home. The first one is the combo of the Samsung 4K player with the Sony 930D detailed here. The second is a Samsung KS8000 coupled with the complimentary Samsung 4K Player. So the former has issues when a non-HDR disc is inserted in the Samsung player. Sony requires the 4K UHD HDMI TV port to be on an Enhanced setting for HDR. Because of this the Samsung player and Sony TV don’t harmoniously work together meaning if I put on a non-HDR presentation, the Sony TV and Samsung player don’t agree to turn off HDR. The result is a bright, overblown presentation that is absolutely horrendous to look at. The Samsung to Samsung setup works perfectly as they communicate back and forth with each other of the source playing. I look to fix this issue this week with my Sony TV setup the trial of the new Sony 4K player here coming out February 23rd I believe.
- Encoding: HEVC / H.265
- Resolution: 4K (2160p)
- Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
- Clarity/Detail: Much to my surprise I really love the sharp level of clarity and detail in this 4K UHD presentation. It’s night and day in sharpness levels compared to its 1080p Blu-ray counterpart. Textures like fabric in clothing, concrete, skin, etc. are rendered with the utmost authenticity. Pores, moles, stubble, hair, individual snowflakes and more are brilliantly on display for all to easily see. You don’t need to squint at all to see the details in this presentation.
- Depth: I have no problems with depth of field here either. All the onscreen characters and environments have that three-dimensional pop to them that contrast against the backdrops whether inside like in the community theater settings or outside amongst the vast Chicago streets.
- Black Levels: The black levels are natural, warm and deep when necessary. Some scenes feel a little washed, but not enough to ding this over. I love how the Chicago streets, neon lights and Christmas decorations look at nighttime here.
- Color Reproduction: Here’s where things are iffy. A) There’s no HDR helping out here and B) Things look fantastic throughout, but a bit yellowish in the majority of interior shots. The outside shots are gorgeous to behold with rich, bold and bodacious colors.
- Flesh Tones: The temperatures of the skin can get a bit yellowish, but as long as you don’t have HDR turned on they appear mostly normal and natural looking.
- Noise/Artifacts: There’s absolutely in the way of artifacts, banding or ugly white specks to report on here. This presentation is free from any onscreen nasties. Enjoy!
Like I mentioned up above in the video section, the below audio score and critical comments of such are based solely upon my viewing of the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray presentation of Bad Santa 2. Both the 4K UHD disc and the regular 1080p Blu-ray come armed with a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track.
- Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, Español DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
- Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
- Dynamics: There’s really not much to talk about in the Dynamics department here. This is a comedy and therefore the most important aspect for me is can I hear all the dialogue and jokes over the score, music and effects. The answer here is a resounding yes as everything is polished with a sense of priority and directionality. Other than that this one’s a simple comedy caper track with a few jams here or there, but not much in the ambiance department.
- Height: n/a
- Low Frequency Extension: The LFE channel does an effective job when called upon such as times needed in the score, soundtrack and effects like gunshots, fireworks, fights and even a Mustang GT crashing into the valet podium. That makes me say ouch and gasp every time I watch that scene. I hate seeing nice Mustangs ruined.
- Surround Sound Presentation: Like the subwoofer activity up above the rears are used sparingly for effects such as voices, cars swerving, emergency sirens, but more for the score and various music selections. I do love the sense of directionality as what happens onscreen is faithfully rendered around you. The film’s conclusion has a chase scene that has the richest surround activity within the whole presentation. However, in the long run it’s nothing to show off your expensive home theater with.
- Dialogue Reproduction: Who knew Thurman Merman had Such a great singing voice. Ha ha. But seriously, all the dialogue levels are loud, clear and easy to understand. You can’t ask for anything more than that in this department.
Bad Santa 2 arrives in a new Unrated version available only on Blu-ray and 4K UHD Blu-ray. This 4K Ultra HD set also includes the original version of the film and the exclusive bonus feature “That’s My Willie,” an original animated series. Additional bonus materials featured on the 1080p Blu-ray disc include the featurettes “Thurman Then & Now,” and “Just Your Average Red Band Featurette”; “Jingle Balls” – an adult version of the classic holiday song, along with gag reel, alternate opening and ending, deleted scenes and more! The one thing I want to caution buyers here is not only does this 4K UHD set not provide you with an HDR presentation, but you also don’t get a redeemable code for the Digital HD file of the film. Boo! What can you do, right? So for now let’s unwrap what presents we have under the tree here and examine in more detail everything you’ll find down below. Like the runtime of the extras I promise this will go by super quick.
- That’s My Willie (HD, 3:51) – This animated short is narrated by Thurman Merman about his friendship with Willie. I’ll never watch this one again. LOL. It kind of recaps their relationship between the first Bad Santa and this one.
- Thurman Then & Now (HD, 2:27) – Brett Kelly discusses how when he was 8 years old in the original film he had to rehearse his lines with his dad who read for Willie. Ha ha. How uncomfortable would that be? Geez! It’s also interesting to hear how he had to gain 50 pounds for this role, perm his hair and die it blonde. Now that’s dedication!
- Just Your Average Red Band Featurette (HD, 2:00) – This is basically an EPK with some very quick Rated-R for language interview moments from the cast and crew mixed with film footage and various behind-the-scene moments.
- “Jingle Balls” (HD, :35) – Gawd these extras are bad. This one is just a bunch of the cuss words from the film over an instrumental cut of “Jingle Bells.”
- Trailers and Spots (HD) – There’s a Play All option you can select here or you can view each of the following individually: Red Band Teaser Trailer (Uncensored), Red Band Trailer #2, “Campaign, ” “Pharma,” “Bad Award” and “Walking Bad.”
- Gag Reel (HD, 3:59) – This is alright, but not much funnier than the film itself.
- Alternate Opening (HD, 1:00) – I don’t think it matter which opening they go with for this film. LOL. This is basically the same as the one in the final film with the exception of a handicap person in it.
- Deleted Scenes (HD, 2:41) – Hearing a little girl talk about wanting a penis to Santa to complete her transition should have been included in the final cut. Ha!
At the end of the day Bad Santa 2 is just a very average, mediocre outing and ultimately a not worthy sequel to the classic original film, which I adore so much. I just want to issue one last warning though before we conclude here. This 4K UHD presentation is not infused with HDR so your results may vary with the picture quality. Remember to turn off HDR if your equipment can’t auto detect that it’s not there (see my explanation up above in the video section). Last but not least this does appear to be a Best Buy exclusive release only so you won’t find it on Amazon, but to my knowledge only here. Enjoy! Believe it or not it actually does get better with repeat viewings. Bad Santa 2 still has a little heart. FYI – The stills during the end credits as they begin to roll are probably some of the raunchier moments of the film. YMMV though. Merry Belated Christmas!
Retry The Holidays Again With
Bad Santa 2
on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray